What it took to make the torture report public

This is an excerpt from The Hill

America tortured. This much, at least, is common knowledge. But five years after the CIA’s post 9/11 rendition, detention, and interrogation (RDI) program officially closed, the public has yet to receive a full accounting of what went on.

Until now. With the release of the key parts of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s (SSCI) watershed report, we can finally see what exactly the CIA did in America’s name. It’s not a pretty picture—some of the descriptions of abuse are graphic—but we must reckon with the dark truths outlined in the report.

The key findings: the CIA misled Congress and the White House about the extent and brutality of the abuse. Interrogators used methods that can only be described as torture. They exaggerated the value of intelligence gained from it—indeed, the report says that any intelligence gained could have been—and was—gathered from valid, humane techniques.

The Senate’s inquiry started with a 14-1 bi-partisan vote after evidence came to light that the CIA misled the SSCI about the interrogation program and destroyed videotapes of interrogation sessions—over the objections of Bush’s White House Counsel and Director of National Intelligence. They aimed to determine how and why the program was created, the intelligence value gained from their interrogations, and whether and to what extend the CIA misled the SSCI and the executive branch about the program.


Published on December 18, 2014


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